Part 3 – Praying in the Spirit … Why Pray in Tongues ?

When you or I speak or pray in an unknown tongue – we are not speaking to men, but to God …. in fact I Corinthians 14:2  informs us that in the spirit we are speaking /praying the mysteries of God.  . and as we pray those mysteries that God is depositing into our spirit – we are being “set up” for God to begin to direct us and our lives in those things that He desires for us and for the people for whom we pray.

God wisely and lovingly put this together in this way  – because you and I don’t always know (actually we seldom know)  the whole picture concerning things that we need to know …. but He wisely deposits the knowledge we need about  those things into our spirit as our spirit prays (I Cor 14:14)…. And one very good reason for that is  – as we see in  Romans 8:26 – “we know not what, or how to pray as we ought”…..And  just as God intends to answer the prayers that we give voice to in English – even so, those prayers we are giving voice to that come in tongues out of us as we pray in the spirit – He intends to answer!

And I can honestly tell you that my prayer life – both the satisfaction of it and the answers to prayer – multiplied as I learned to spend time praying in the spirit (that is because you are much more likely to be praying “according to His will”)…. And I quickly noticed how much more alive the Word of God became to me as well.  It is as the old quote says “the proof is in the pudding.”  So I was very soon “sold” on the value of praying in the spirit….. and  It didn’t hurt that a hero of mine – the Apostle Paul – valued personal prayer in the spirit so highly that he told the Corinthians “I thank my God that I pray in tongues more than you all”… (and you can note that he didn’t have time to waste on things that weren’t important!) – So since he urged us to “follow me as I follow the Lord” …..

Perhaps  praying in the spirit should likewise be a priority to you and me – don’t you think?   I can also tell you that after praying in tongues for 15 – 20 minutes or so, I will generally  feel/or hear some things in English rising up in my spirit to pray for – and I will go with that until it feels “emptied out” – then I begin again praying in the spirit until I finish the time I have to give to praying – or until something else rises up in my spirit such as worship or maybe one of the writings that He frequently downloads into my spirit.  I have also learned that I can continue quietly praying in the spirit even after I leave the “place” of prayer and become involved in house work – or driving the car – or laying down to rest,  etc, etc……

If you think I place great value on praying in the spirit, you are very right and if you think I am urging you to  spend a little time developing that habit, you are right again.  You can start by taking 15 minutes  out of your day (or more if you can) aside from other things and begin praying in tongues.  Day by day as you pray – the Spirit of God gives you the utterance – so that you can know it is as perfect a prayer as you could possibly pray … and one that He will take coming from your lips – and answer in the best possible ways as you continue in those times of fellowship with Him…… praying in the Holy Ghost – as Jude 20,21  refers to it.  I am excited for you as you begin “building yourself up praying in the Holy Ghost!”

Thank You Lord for this incredible gift You gave to the Church….. I pray that many more of Your people will come to understand its value and receive it as a precious gift from You to them.

Part II – Praying in the Spirit – What IS the Purpose?

“I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than you all.”   (I Cor. 14:18) Who said that – and why would they place such high value on speaking with tongues?….. It was the Apostle Paul speaking to the Corinthian church – and to us who would even today be reading God’s Word……

(I made a point to tell you that it was spoken for us even today – because in many circles it is taught that the gifts of the Spirit are not for today – but there is no place in God’s Word that nullifies any of the spiritual gifts which God gave to the church after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ.  A verse or two taken out of context has been used to appear to say that the gifts have passed away – but you would have to do away with MANY other new testament passages of scriptures in order for those one or two verses to stand – as evidence of the spiritual gifts having “passed away.” I am not trying to be ugly to anyone – for I have seen some things in the name of “spiritual gifts” that would turn me off too – but any true gift God has for us is too good to miss – simply because of misuse or misinformation….. So  my aim is only to share what the Word of God does have to say about this incredible gift of God for His church)

Incredible gift is right!….. that is “the why” for the Apostle Paul telling us that he speaks in tongues – “more than you all!” The Apostle Paul was a very busy man – and with all that he had to do for the care of the churches, he would not have had time – or taken time – for frivolous or trivial things!  That should tell us that it is important to look into this matter to see why he placed so much value on speaking/praying in tongues (aka praying in the spirit)…..

To begin with (in I Cor 14) – just four verses before he made the statement about his choice to spend time praying and speaking much in tongues – he tells us that … “if I pray in an unknown tongue – my spirit prayeth.” (verse 14)  And going back to verses 4 and 5,  he makes the statement “I wish that you all spoke with tongues”– and in verse 39 as he finishes that chapter – he tells us to “forbid not to speak with tongues” – all of these statements pointing to the fact that he found it very important that we understand the value that he placed on this gift…. and at the same time he made it clear that it can be used (misused) in a disorderly fashion in a church setting – that being the topic of that entire chapter…. . He was not belittling the gift (as some pull a verse or two out of the context of that whole chapter to say),  but rather he was addressing the proper use of the gift in a church setting so that all could benefit.  There is the church as a corporate body meeting together,  and there are the individual members of that body. The gifts were given to the individual members to profit withal…….“There are diversities of gifts but the same Spirit ….. and there are diversities of operations,  but it is the same God which worketh all in all – for the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal” (I Cor 12:4-7 paraphrased)……ie. Praying in the spirit – or any of these gifts that are used for the end result of ministering the life giving grace of God to others will benefit the minister – and the one(s) ministered to.  That is the “profit withal” that this scripture mentioned.

Okay, it’s an important gift – but “WHY”?   To begin to answer that I will share from two passages of scripture with you…… “He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself…. for in the spirit he is speaking mysteries .” (I extracted two key statements here from I Corinthians 14:2,4 – highlighting them to you for a purpose)-  ie. “Edifieth himself” means “to be a housebuilder – to build (up), to construct – or instruct in such a way as to improve, enlighten or uplift and embolden.…..  That’s a lot of good stuff,  and at first look it might appear that this is a rather “self-serving” gift – but not so!

Why is that?  ….  Let’s look at one other scripture because one scripture often sheds light on other scriptures….. Jude 20, 21 :  “But you beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith – PRAYING IN THE HOLY GHOST – keep yourselves in the love of God…..   Hmmmmm … Indeed!  We do build ourselves up when we pray in the spirit (aka pray in the Holy Ghost) – and it is very important that we keep ourselves built up and strong – so that when the need arises, we are able also to help others……  And “keeping yourself in the love of God” –  (as this scripture attributes to praying in the Holy Ghost) – is no small thing either!

I’ve just shared with you a couple of super big reasons for developing the simple but strong discipline of praying in the spirit.  There’s more to share with you about this from the Word –  and from some personal experience about what has helped me along the way too – so I hope with all my heart that you who are reading this today will return to this blog for the next posts on this very important subject of praying in the spirit

….. And thank You Lord Jesus  for this incredible gift to your church!… and for unveiling its purpose in Your Word.

These 3 Things — About that 3rd Thing – Praying in the Spirit

“If I pray in an unknown tongue – my spirit prayeth – but my understanding is unfruitful.  What then? ….  I will pray with the spirit, and  I will pray with the understanding also.”   ( I Corinthians 14:14, 15a )

In the post on March 7th, I began to share with you about the three things have really helped me grow in the area of developing the ear of my spirit to hear…..  (I want to hear when God has something to say – don’t you?) In several of the posts since March 7th, I have shared a little with you about the first two of those 3 things  – one being: personal worship where you spend time alone with the Lord – giving thanks and worshiping Him. … And the other of the first two things being – getting alone to spend time with God in His Word – so that you come to understand the true value of it.

I would also tell you this about those first two things – which is that in spending time in personal worship and alone with God in His word – it is there that you will learn the “taste” of His presence more than anywhere else….. and knowing that “taste” is very important to your learning to hear His voice – and to recognize it from any other.  That is why I listed these as the first two things – ie. because they are foundational in learning to hear the voice of God.  They are the place that you learn to have sweet fellowship with Him.

But in this post, I will begin to share about the third one of those 3 things that have been so helpful to me in learning to hear the voice of God……(to say nothing of the wonderful fellowship you can have along the way).  This third thing is of course “praying in the spirit.” The scripture that I used to begin this post with in the first paragraph separates praying in the spirit from praying with your native or other natural language.  I feel that it is important to point that out to you because I have heard praying in the spirit “explained away” by saying something to the effect that it just means that you are “in the spirit” while you are praying to God in whatever your natural language is.  I will address that more in the next post by sharing more from the Word of God about it – indeed there are a number of scriptures that I will bring to you to further clarify and explain more about this subject while I am doing the coming posts on praying in the spirit……

But what I particularly would like to share with you today is to assure you that I have both friends who pray in the spirit and those who do not – and I would tell  you that ALL who receive Jesus as Savior are born again – and praying – or not praying in the spirit – does nothing to change that!

Now because praying in the spirit (aka praying in tongues) has been a subject  with some controversy attached to it within the Body of Christ as well as outside of it – I am proceeding here with consideration of that fact – but I must as the Lord reminded me when I started this blog -“speak His Word faithfully.” …. So that I likely cannot please everyone who reads this, but my first loyalty is to God and to His Word – and though I do not  purpose to offend anyone, I  cannot speak contrary to what I see and hear and know of the Word of God….. It is just too important …..But I pray that each of you as readers will be like the Berean Christians (Acts 17:11) who “searched the scriptures daily to see for themselves whether the things they were being taught were indeed true.” You and I owe that much to ourselves I think.

I’ve kept it short today – just presenting the very beginning of what I want to share with you “about that 3rd thing – praying in the spirit.” But for those of you who are hungry to know what is in the Word of God concerning this subject – please join me for the next post – which will take us a little further into the scriptures about this.